MANCHESTER UNITED TRANSFER RUMOURS: Hazard, Van Persie, Giroud, Kagawa, Dembele Involved In Latest Speculation

  @JasonLeMiere on May 11 2012 11:58 AM
Sir Alex Ferguson
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson realizes the need to improve his squad for next season. Reuters

Earlier this week Sir Alex Ferguson made clear his desire to block Javier Hernandez from appearing for Mexico in this summer's Olympics. The move reflects the United manager's fears that the striker's form has suffered this season, as a result of two summers without a break.

Hernandez has struggled to replicate the excellent performances of his first year as United has struggled to find a regular partner for Wayne Rooney. Danny Welbeck has shown promise but is still raw at the highest level.

And with Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen set to depart Old Trafford this summer, there is likely to be a vacancy for a striker in Ferguson's squad.

The latest name being linked to fill that void is Montpellier forward Olivier Giroud. The 25-year-old has been one of the revelations of French soccer this season as he has fired his way to the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 21 goals.

Arsenal have long been considered favorites to land the France international, but Caught Offside reports that United has joined the race for his signature.

A powerful presence up top and strong in the air, but with no little technical skill, Giroud could add a different dimension to United's forward line.

A very different type of forward United could also go after is Fulham's Moussa Dembele. The versatile Belgium international has occupied a variety of positions in attack and midfield this season and has been key to the club's success despite his paltry goalscoring record.

Goal.com now reports that the 24-year-old has caught the eye of Ferguson as United has joined Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham in the race for Dembele. With a year left on his contract, Fulham may decide to cash in one of their leading assets this summer.

There also appears to be a scrum forming over the chase to sign another United target Shinji Kagawa. The Japan international is widely expected to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer, with just a year remaining on his contract with the Bundesliga champions.

United was thought to be in prime position to secure the talented attacking midfielder, but the Daily Mail now claims that Arsenal will compete for Kagawa's signature. More news is expected on this transfer after Dortmund plays their last game of the season in the German Cup final against Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Kagawa's signing is sure to have become increasingly important to United with the realization that Eden Hazard appears to have chosen to sign for rivals Manchester City next season.

The Manchester Evening News states that City is now firm favorites to sign the Lille attacking midfielder for a fee in excess of £30 million. The MEN relays the quotes from Hazard, that we reported here earlier in the week where the in-demand 21-year-old makes clear his desire to move to the presumptive-Premier League winners.

I have already said that my wish is to go to the Premier League, Hazard said. It's the blue that I'll be wearing next season. Definitely the blue.

The report claims that Ferguson remains determined to sign three players this summer, with other names on the radar including Ajax's Christian Eriksen, Tottenham's Luka Modric and Javi Martinez of losing Europa League finalists Athletic Bilbao.

Meanwhile, United's unlikely bid for Robin van Persie has been cast into further doubt by the latest words from Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

We haven't talked to Robin yet, but I spoke to Arsene [Wenger] recently. He is very confident he will stay and I very much hope he will, Hill-Wood said, according to the Daily Star.

We have had no official approaches from any other club, as far as I am aware.

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